ON WITH THE SHOW: After runs at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, “Contemporary Muslim Fashions” will be making its only East Coast stop at the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York.
Organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the stereotype-defying exhibition takes into consideration how Muslim women have become arbiters of style in their communities and beyond. The exhibition is the first to examine the modest fashion industry — a burgeoning sector in many parts of the globe. Opening to the public on Feb. 28 and running through Aug. 23, the show will spotlight about 80 ensembles from an assortment of fashion, streetwear, sportswear and couture designers. Visitors will also find about 40 photographs.
“Contemporary Muslim Fashions” will focus on the intersection of regional dress styles, global fashion trends and attitudes about modesty. It considers how Muslim women define themselves and are defined by their dress, providing a snapshot of the current moment in Muslim modest fashion. Modest fashion refers to garments that are both highly fashionable and provide sufficient body cover to address cultural concerns for modesty. Gallery goers will get a better understanding of how the attire worn by practitioners of Islam is shaped by religious traditions as well as local customs and global trends. “Contemporary Muslim Fashions” will take the long view of areas where designers are creating and consumers are wearing highly fashionable garments. The uptown exhibition will zero in on the Middle East, Southeast Asia and select communities in Europe and the U.S. There will also be plenty of social media references to demonstrate how bloggers and influencers have used social media, when they were unable to find accurate representations of themselves in traditional media.
The upcoming show is not the only one that the Cooper Hewitt is finessing this year. In March, the Upper East Side museum will unveil “Willi Smith: Street Couture,” which will be the first museum exhibition dedicated to the influential American designer Willi Smith, who died in 1987.